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The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted June 12, 2000

The shoe finally dropped on Microsoft Corp. and -- if you don't mind us here at ESR sounding a little hysterical -- capitalism.

As co-founder and chairman of the Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism Robert W. Tracinski pointed out last week, this isn't simply a case of a giant company breaking a law over a century old. The Department of Justice jihad against Microsoft was nothing less than the government deciding it wanted to restructure the computer industry on its own terms.

Oh the arrogance that the government had to put up with coming from Silicon Valley and Redmond. For years they have had to listen to nebbish geeks with poor hygiene tell bureaucrats that the real power comes from the microprocessor, not Washington, D.C. Unlike other industries who came to the capital on bended knee -- and bearing checks -- the computer industry quietly went about its work changing the world. Libertarianism -- freedom from government -- is the political currency that flows in the world of the software giants.

Although life isn't a zero sum game, some of Microsoft's opponents got tired at losing more times than they won so they complained to government...and government, needing that opportunity to walk in and impose its will, listened. Boy, did they ever.

Now that the ruling forcing Microsoft to split into two companies -- presuming the company loses its appeals -- has come to pass, men like Sun Microsystems' Scott McNealy and Oracle's Larry Ellison must be rejoicing. See, they were some of the original "captains of industry" to run to Janet Reno and Joel Klein and beg them for "legal" relief to Microsoft's dominance. They got what they wanted.

McNealy and Ellison, however, shouldn't be sleeping too soundly these days. History has proven that government is like a partially tamed animal. Most of the time it will do what you order it to do. Sometimes, not too often but enough to make you nervous all the time, that partially trained animal will turn on you. It doesn't matter how well you've been treating it before -- or in other words, how much money you've contributed -- it'll attack.

If Sun and Oracle do manage to make it out like bandits because of this decision, they may well learn that they'll be the target of complaints one day as well. And the cycle will begin again.

The only victors are the enemies of capitalism. There are a lot of them today.

web posted June 5, 2000

As we mentioned in our editorial, Rosie O'Donnell's decision to have an armed body guard accompany her child to and from school -- and babysit him (without the handgun) through the school day -- is hypocrisy, but it's so much more.

It betrays a belief that some people should be allowed to use firearms -- an elite which seems to be defined by their star power in the entertainment industry -- while the rest are at the mercy of those who respect neither life nor property and use their firearms to shred our rights.

O'Donnell is one of those people. For years she has made her name as a staunch advocate of gun control and uses her popular talk show as a bully pulpit to try and convince Congress to bring in new regulations and restrictions. As anyone with common sense could tell you, those laws only work so far as people respect them. Honest, law-abiding citizens -- whether grudgingly or enthusiastically -- work to meet the latest conditions imposed upon them from the powers that be in Washington, D.C. Criminals merely continue on with their work.

O'Donnell knows that, that's why she wants an armed body guard with her child. It's a shame that millions of Americans are demonized by her for wanting to be able to protect their families without increasingly inane restrictions imposed by politicians who don't have to live in the same word that the average person does.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

web posted May 22, 2000

At least he had the class to quit.

It's tempting to compare Rudy Giuliani to Bill Clinton. Both men are intensely disliked by large blocks of voters and both apparently have little problem with going outside of their marriage for things they aren't receiving from their wives.

You could defend Giuliani for apparently having affairs with dynamic, intelligent and hardworking women, a stark contrast to the brainless women Clinton apparently has a soft spot for, but adultery is adultery. There is no defence for his behavior.

But as I said before, at least Giuliani had the class to quit the race for the New York Senate. Sure, the official reason was the cancer he is suffering with but everyone knows that he became a liability to the Republican Party and although he remained reasonably popular with potential voters, his star was tarnished. Giuliani understood that and rather than undertake the ordeal of running a campaign and answering questions about his personal life on a daily basis, he took the higher road out and simply called it quits, turning the reigns over to someone else.

Pity someone else hadn't done the same.

Have someone you want considered for the Earth is Flat Award or the Vinegar in Freedom Award? Email ESR with your candidates!

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